December 8th, 2013

A.  Living in the Wake of the Latest Liturgical Reform

Methodologically I was compelled to begin this series with a very cursory presentation of some foundational liturgical principles and then build upon them.  (As outlined above.)  Not knowing how else to effectively proceed, this was done in light of the risk of loosing the people I most desired to address.  However, we have finally arrived at the matter that is most likely motivating the reader, and most assuredly the author.  Living in the wake of the latest liturgical reform we are left with a series of questions.  What has been going on with the liturgy for the past forty to fifty years?  Where are we in the implementation of the liturgical reforms called for by the Second Vatican Council?  How did we arrive at this point, which has led to what seems like a lifetime of liturgical fatigue?  Is this fatigue affecting everyone?  Can we find liturgical peace and unity again?  These are some big questions. 

Because we are talking about the experience of people, specifically people who have lived through, and in the wake of, an historical event our considerations become as much sociological as they have been liturgical.  As the reform unfolded from ideas into practice over the course of decades, the stages of implementations consequently spanned from one generation to the next.  Too often this is forgotten.  The consequence is that one generation naively will assume that the following shares their view.  This is almost invariably untrue.  Subsequent generations often surprise the previous, sometimes even shock.  Take for example the free-spirited sixties and seventies generation.  Nobody was more surprised than them to discover the preppy materialism and techno-pop of the eighties.  What was their reaction?  No doubt it was much that same as any preceding generation.  The customary conclusion is to declare, “they don’t know what it was like before.”  Ironically, this usually becomes a generations’ first connection the previous.  As their parents looked upon them with some surprise, so now they look upon their children with a similar surprise.  It quickly becomes apparent that the emerging generation has had a different experience.  The same sociological trends occur in the church.  Every contemporary reader belongs to one of several ecclesiastical generations of recent times.  The next article will characterize them.

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